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6L80 vs 6L90: Devil’s in the Details

6L80 vs. 6L90: Devil's in the Details - Gearstar Performance Transmissions

The 6L80 and 6L90 are two of the most popular rear-wheel transmissions from General Motors. So many things have been discussed about these remarkable transmissions. This is especially true since several of these units are malfunctioning and require rebuilding. It shouldn’t be surprising that the 6L80 vs 6L90 transmission units are reaching their prime age in the repair cycle. However, technicians constantly need to rebuild these units across the country primarily due to a lack of appropriate attention to detail. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche states, “the devil is in the details.” Here’s a quick look at the areas that must always be addressed when rebuilding a 6L80 vs 6L90 transmission.

6L80 vs 6L90 Differences

To know the differences between the 6L80 vs 6L90, it is expedient to check out each of these transmission units.

6L80 Transmission

The 6L80 transmissions heralded significant changes in the overall design of automatic transmissions fabricated by General Motors. All previous automatic transmissions by GM were based on hydraulic controls. These transmissions continually received electrical elements the more they modernized. But the 6L80 transmission was developed from the ground up as an electric-over-hydraulic transmission, complete with microprocessor control. The manufacture of the 6L80 began in 2005 and was released in most GM vehicles in the model year of 2006. The transmission lasted until 2016, available in 6L80 vs 6L90 versions.

6L90 Transmission

GM introduced a stronger variant of the 6L80 transmission within a year, known as the 6L90 transmission, RPO code MYD. This version of the automatic transmission is 1-3/8 inches longer than its predecessor, the 6L80, with approximately 25 percent of the internal components of the new transmission differing from the old variant. In other words, the 6L90 Transmission is a heavy-duty version of the 6L80 six-speed automatic. Engine torque rating increases to a minimal degree, but the output torque rating of this transmission jumps up by almost 220 feet per pound to 885 feet per pound.

In addition, the 6L90 transmission comes with a reinforced input gearset with two extra pinion gears, i.e., 6 in total, and a strengthened output gearset that utilized wider gears than its predecessor. The flexibility of the 6L90 transmission extends to the clutches as the latter has an additional clutch plate in every clutch than the 6L80 for heavy-duty applications. However, a 6L90 version lacks the additional clutch plate that can match application requirements where appropriate. The 6L90 transmission differed from its predecessor’s long-standing GM 32 spline specification output shaft to efficiently handle the significantly increased output torque capacity.

Instead, it went for a large diameter of 29 splines for most truck applications. But some HD trucks and 2WD van versions had a 36 spline. This is why it is essential to be mindful of your output shaft version before you proceed with any adaptation. As mentioned earlier, the 6L90 transmission shares up to 75 percent of its components with its 6L80 counterpart. However, the case of the 6L80 transmission is 35mm longer than the case of the 6L80 transmission. Moreover, the 6L90 transmission case accommodates additional fasteners between the transfer case and the transmission for enhanced driveline vibration/noise performance.

6L80 vs 6L90 Damage Differences

The 6L80 vs 6L90 transmissions usually get damaged around the pump area. The defect is mainly attributed to a torque converter failure. Most machinists and DIY enthusiasts know that torque converter failure is the #1 issue that grounds these transmission units. A total of 0.o1o inches to 0.015 inches of material is removed from the bell housing and stator support to restore the surfaces on typical pump assembly repairs. In addition, the depth of the pump pocket is restored by removing material from the surface of the bell housing.

This precise dimension must be matched for proper slide and rotor clearance. Most mechanics remove just enough material to restore the pump pocket and then get rid of an equal amount from the surface of the pump to maintain OEM dimensions. Some processes also include removing some material from the surface of the bell housing-to-case. Most rebuilt 6L80 and 6L90 transmission units have approximately 100,000 miles on them. Nevertheless, unit clearance should always be checked and modified accordingly, anyway.

Signs of a Failing Torque Converter

The primary job of a torque converter is to prevent the vehicle from stalling when it comes to a stop. The torque converter also multiplies engine torque beneath acceleration to enhance pulling power. The torque converter is located between the transmission and the engine. One side of the torque converter bolts to a flexplate at the back of the engine, while the other side fits perfectly over the transmission’s input shaft. The entire torque converter assembly is composed of 5 primary components:

  • Turbine
  • Stator
  • Impeller
  • Front cover
  • Clutch

Here are the common signs you will notice when your torque converter goes bad:

Shuddering

The shuddering of a torque converter is a noticeable problem, resulting in vibration before or after the lockup of the torque converter clutch. If you drive an old model vehicle, you usually feel the vibration around 40 to 50 miles per hour when the clutch lockup occurs. But for late-model vehicles that gradually apply the torque converter clutch, the shuddering of this unit may occur at different speeds.

Overheating

When a converter clutch stays locked up, it can cause a significant increase in the temperature of the engine coolant. Likewise, a locked stator one-way clutch can cause your vehicle engine to overheat, especially under cruise conditions. In addition, a locked one-way clutch may cause the transmission fluid to get incredibly hot. This potentially leads to internal transmission damage.

Stalling

When the torque converter clutch fails to release, your vehicle may stall, especially when coming to a stop. The problem will feel like you’re driving a car with a manual transmission and stopping to engage the clutch after releasing the pedal.

Key Takeaways

The 6L80 and 6L90 transmissions were powerful in their heydays and were released in several vehicles. However, they are prone to damage usually caused by the failure of the torque converter. This has resulted in a consistent pattern of transmission failures across the country, as evidenced by tech specialists. Knowing the specifics of these transmissions makes it easier to rebuild them into long-lasting automatic transmissions that will perform remarkably well for extended periods.

Bad Torque Converter Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Fixes

Bad Torque Converter Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Fixes - Gearstar

The torque converter is a complex, highly sensitive, and vital part of your vehicle. A hydraulic coupling transfers your engine’s power to the transmission. Torque converters can perform this function because they are filled with automatic transmission fluid. On a fundamental basis, the torque converter is an excellent alternative to the mechanical clutch in standard manual transmissions. This is because torque converters in perfect working conditions multiply torque at lower revolutions per minute (RPM). This allows for more power than is usually possible via simple fluid coupling. However, when torque converters go bad, it can be worrisome. This is why it is crucial to know bad torque converter symptoms. This will make diagnosing it easier, and proper steps can be taken to fix the issue.

Symptoms of a Bad Torque Converter

These are the symptoms you should take note of as they inform you that your torque converter may have gone bad:

Illuminated Check Engine Light

The transmission control module (TCM) monitors the operation of torque converters in modern vehicles. If this module notices an issue with the torque converter or control circuitry, the device immediately switches on the Check Engine Light. It will also rapidly store a DTC (diagnostic trouble code) in its memory. Some vehicles switch on a dedicated transmission light when there’s a torque converter problem.

Slipping between Gears

Automatic cars are designed to shift smoothly between gears. You can feel the seamless transition, especially when you step on the gas pedal or decelerate quickly. However, suppose you feel your vehicle slipping between gears when it shifts. If you experience difficulty staying in a particular gear or the shifting feels somewhat strange or rough, there’s a great chance you’re plagued with a torque converter issue.

Shuddering 

This is a relatively common torque converter issue that often results in vibration, usually before or after the clutch lockup of the torque converter. If you own an older automatic vehicle, you may notice this vibration when driving at 40 to 50 MPH, which is when lockup occurs. But if you drive a late-model car, the shuddering may occur at different speeds since these vehicles usually apply the torque converter clutch gradually.

Leaking Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid is crucial to a torque converter’s overall health and performance, including the entire transmission system. Unfortunately, torque converter seals can get worn out or damaged over time. This makes them prime sources of transmission fluid leaks. If your transmission fluid starts leaking, you shouldn’t waste time or take chances. Something is wrong with your torque converter, and a professional must check it out as soon as possible.

Loss of Acceleration

Is your vehicle feeling more sluggish than usual, and acceleration is now a struggle? You could have transmission issues, and the torque converter is the most likely culprit behind it.

Overheated Transmission

Your vehicle’s transmission comes with a highly sensitive temperature gauge that quickly detects when the transmission is overheating. It warns you of this development so that a certified transmission professional can get your vehicle looked at as soon as possible. Your torque converter may fail, or internal damage may require urgent attention.

Weird Noises

There may be trouble if you suddenly notice a whining noise from your torque converter. This whining noise implies that the pump within the torque converter is no longer functioning as designed. The noise could imply that the blade assembly no longer receives enough fluid. This can cause everything to run together, which is not supposed to be.

Diagnosing a Bad Torque Converter

You don’t need a professional to diagnose torque converters issues. This is something you can do by yourself. However, you will need the professional assistance of a certified torque converter technician to confirm your suspicions and fix them as soon as possible. Follow these steps to diagnose the issue and listen carefully for unusual occurrences like shuddering, strange noises, slipping, etc.

  1. Start your vehicle and allow the engine to run for several minutes.
  2. Apply light pressure on the gas pedal a few times.
  3. Push the vehicle’s brake and shift the gear into drive.
  4. Shift through each gear slowly.
  5. Drive around the neighborhood and listen attentively for unusual sounds each time you accelerate.

These steps may appear simple, but they can distinguish between driving with a bad torque converter and a good one. It is also easy to confuse torque converter issues with transmission problems. This is where the professional assistance of a torque converter specialist comes in. A specialist knows what to do to check for torque converter problems.

Fixing a Bad Torque Converter

Fixing a bad torque converter may save you a few bucks, especially if it is so damaged that you need to replace it with a new one. However, fixing or replacing a bad torque converter is more cost-efficient. If you keep driving your vehicle with a bad torque converter, the latter will cause considerable damage to the components within your transmission. You will spend a lot of money fixing those issues and still fix or replace the damaged or bad torque converter. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine. Therefore, get your vehicle to the nearest auto mechanic shop and get the torque converter specialist to look it over. Share your suspicions with the professional, as this will make it faster for them to readily diagnose or confirm issues using special equipment.

Conclusion

You can avoid torque converter problems if you know the symptoms to watch out for. The most obvious signs have been highlighted above. However, if you notice any of them, it is high time you get your vehicle’s torque converter checked out by a certified and trusted specialist. The cost of fixing or replacing your torque converter should not be an issue, especially if you consider the severe damage it may cause to your transmission if you don’t fix it on time. Therefore, always watch out for these signs each time you drive your vehicle. As soon as you notice any torque converter trouble shared above symptoms, take the necessary action.

Ultimate 700R4 Rebuild Kit Guide

Ultimate 700R4 Rebuild Kit Guide - Gearstar Performance Transmissions

“What 700R4 rebuild kit is right for me?” This is the question of a prospective rebuilder searching for the best 700R4 rebuild kit on the market. The 700R4 automatic transmission is 4-speed in Chevrolet and GMC cars and trucks. General Motors launched this automatic transmission in the early 1980s, an upgrade to the popular 3-speed TH350 transmission and the older models of rear-wheel-drive vehicles.

The primary aim of developing the 700R4 automatic transmission was to improve fuel economy in vehicles significantly. This aim was achieved successfully, thanks to the 30 percent overdrive in 4th gear it featured. In addition, the overdrive allowed pickup trucks and sports cars that came with it to be even more affordable to use or drive. The 700R4 transmission is featured in vehicles – including rear-wheel-drive cars and trucks – from 1982 to 1993. Here are some of them, arranged in no particular order:

GMC

  • Jimmy: 1982 – 1993
  • Syclone: 1991 – 1992
  • Safari: 1983 – 1990

Chevy

  • Blazer: 1982 – 1991
  • Camaro: 1983 – 1992
  • Corvette: 1982 – 1992
  • Astro Van: 1985 – 1992
  • Suburban: 1984 – 1992

Cadillac 

  • Brougham: 1990 – 1992
  • Fleetwood: 1990 – 1992
  • Limousine: 1990 – 1992

The last 700R4 transmission was produced more than 20 years ago. This shows that it has been around for some time and remains popular due to its adaptability and reliability. However, rebuilding a transmission from the ground up and for the first time can be daunting, especially if you’re not DIY-inclined. You must be 100 percent sure you possess the chops or skills to take on this challenging task. It starts with deciding or figuring out the primary goal of your 700R4 rebuild. For example, why do you want to rebuild your 700R4 transmission?

Do you want to save money and time by performing a basic repair so you can get back on the road as soon as possible? Vehicle owners do 700R4 transmission rebuilds for several reasons. First, your transmission may function remarkably well now; however, you are considering dropping it and doing a high-performance 700R4 rebuild to handle heavy-load situations. Some even perform in-depth 700R4 transmission rebuilds to eliminate any known OEM weaknesses. Whatever your reason for rebuilding a transmission, you need to be sure it is the right step.

What to Consider Before Starting the 700R4 Rebuild Process

You need to consider the following before embarking on your transmission rebuild process. Here they are in no particular order:

  • First, what year is the vehicle whose 700R4 transmission needs a rebuild?
  • Is the transmission unit damaged? What is the extent of the damage?
  • What hard components should you get before starting the transmission rebuild process?
  • Are molded rubber pistons in the transmission, or do they use piston lip seals?
  • Does your transmission unit make use of a bonded valve body plate?
  • Does your 700R4 transmission’s pump use an O-ring or wedge-style seal?

These are just a few questions/things to consider before embarking on your 700R4 transmission rebuild.

The 700R4 Rebuild Manual

A rebuild manual is essential, whether or not you have the necessary experience rebuilding transmissions. A rebuild manual showcases every intricate detail of the transmission you are working on. For instance, a different component may be located at another corner in a particular year. When it comes to standard transmission rebuild manuals, the ATSG Manual is a perfect choice. They have a 700R4 rebuild manual with brilliantly-sketched diagrams and top-notch information that helps ensure you are doing the right thing as you rebuild your 700R4 transmission. The standard transmission rebuild kit, known as the Alto PowerPack, comes with the following:

  • A new filter
  • High energy carbon band
  • Corvette Servo
  • Trans valve body separator plate

SA Design’s Builders and Swapper’s Guide

This extraordinary rebuild guide is ideal for a high-performance transmission rebuild. The guide is informal, making it easier for anyone to read and understand while wrenching on a vehicle’s 700R4 transmission unit.

Top Performance Transmission Rebuild Kits

Part of rebuilding a 700R4 transmission includes ensuring the unit is stronger and much more efficient than it used to be. The top performance transmission rebuild kit from B&M that helps generate more power includes:

  • High-performance materials
  • Made only for the 1987-1993 700R4 transmission in particular
  • Complete gasket set
  • High-performance springs and valves
  • Drain plugs
  • One-year warranty

700R4 Rebuild Kit With a Torque Converter

When choosing the appropriate torque converter for your unique application, several variables must be considered. You can re-order a stock converter if you only rebuild a 700R4 transmission. There is also nothing wrong with going for a torque converter with the same stall speed as your automobile had from the factory. However, if this is not the case, you will need to be incredibly careful when searching for a suitable torque converter for your vehicle. Modern LS-type engines make good power, but the stall does not have to be as extreme since the heads generate more power. This allows for a less aggressive cam profile, allowing the engine to retain decent bottom-end power efficiently.

700R4 Transmission Recommendations

Experts highly recommend replacing every friction material – e.g., band/clutches – and the filter when undertaking a 700R4 transmission rebuild. Moreover, OEM 700R4 transmissions come with several inherent weak points within the sun shell and the ¾ clutch packs. Therefore, ensure you make use of an aftermarket sun shell. Ensure you replace the front stator tube bushings, rear case, and pump body. Replace any other part that looks worn or scratched. After any transmission rebuild, you must always use a remanufactured or new torque converter. Also, don’t forget to install or rebuild a remanufactured valve body on every rebuilt transmission.

Conclusion

Rebuilding any transmission is not a walk in the park. The 700R4 transmission is one of the toughest today and has held its own for over 20 years. You can get the best 700R4 transmission rebuild kit, depending significantly on your budget and the power you want to put on the pavement.

6L90E Transmission Specs and Identification

6L90 Transmission Specs and Identification - Gearstar

The 6L90E is a high-performance component suitable for handling as much as 700 horsepower. This 6-speed automatic transmission built by General Motors powers everything from family sedans to audacious muscle vehicles, SUVs, and pickup trucks, alongside the 6L80E model. The 6L90E transmission is primarily designed for rear-focused all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive vehicles. This remarkable AT is paired with GM’s V8 Duramax and V8 Vortec VVT engines.

This is why the 6L90E transmission is commonly used in GM diesel and heavy-duty trucks, including the Camaro ZL1 and cargo vans. General Motors manufactured the 6L90E in 2006, primarily designed for AWD/4WD and RWD applications. The 6-speed automatic transmission has several features, the most notable of which is the clutch-to-clutch function with a wide gear ratio for maximum efficiency and performance.

Difference Between the 6L80E and 6L90E Transmission

The 6L90E transmission succeeded the 6L80E transmission and is designed to transform the extra torque of the previous unit. The 6L90E transmission was critical as new vehicles with excellent or more significant performance were needed to hit the market. The primary differences between the 6L90E automatic transmission and its predecessor, the 6L80E transmission, can be traced to the internal hard components. First of all, the case of the 6L90E automatic transmission is shorter than its successor.

The reason behind this design was to enable the transmission to sufficiently accommodate extra physical gear assemblies. As a result, this transmission permits two additional pinion gears, equating everything to six. This critical modification is highly crucial for high torque and high RPM figures. In addition, this resulted in a large intermediate shaft to ensure 100 percent reliability, especially during loaded 3-4 upshifts where the shaft experiences great stress. Some applications came with many extra clutches across multiple clutch packs within the transmission. This increases the load capabilities of these clutch packs in the gears to which they are readily applied.

6L90E Transmission Specs and Ratios

The 6L90E automatic transmission provides optimum efficiency and 6-speed performance by taking full advantage of a much wider gear ratio instead of the conventional planetary gearset design. It has a die-cast aluminum casing with maximum input torque of 531 lb.-ft. and weighs approximately 245 lbs. with a torque converter and ATF. The 6-speed automatic transmission has a stall ratio of 1.9, a max shift speed of 6,200 rpm, a max GVWR of 15,000 lbs., and 29 spline output/shaft. It has zero PTO provisions and fluid capacity, approximately 13 quarts.

Gear Ratios

  • First gear: 4.027 to 1
  • Second gear: 2.364 to 1
  • Third gear: 1.532 to 1
  • Fourth gear: 1.152 to 1
  • Fifth gear: 0.852 to 1
  • Sixth gear: 0.667 to 1
  • Reverse: 3.064 to 1

This 6-speed automatic transmission is much larger than its predecessor, the 6L80E transmission, and features at least one more clutch plate in every pack than the 6L80E. This 6L90E transmission showcases a modular transmission case design that readily accepts numerous output shaft adapters and bell housings. This enables the transmission to be employed in various applications without requiring extensive modifications. It also doesn’t require complete application-specific transmission designs.

Features of the 6L90E

The 6L90E automatic transmission is electronically controlled and comes with a 300 mm torque converter. In addition, it is integrated with haul/tow settings that provide alternative shift schedules for high load conditions and decent speed control features. The heavy-duty version of the 6L90E automatic transmission has one additional plate in every clutch pack. This is necessary for stronger output/input gearsets. In addition, the modular design of this 6-speed automatic transmission makes for easy integration between a wide variety of engine applications. As with all transmissions, service intervals for the 6L90E transmission require changing the filter and fluid at 100,000 miles under normal or standard service conditions and at 50,000 miles under severe service conditions.

Common Defects of the 6L90E

The 6L90E has never been considered terrible when it comes to specification. Nevertheless, it has a few inherent design flaws that are worth mentioning. The well-known issues the 6L90E transmission has included:

  • Randomly popping out of ‘park’
  • Not shifting out of ‘park’
  • When in ‘reverse,’ it makes a loud rattling sound

The primary source of these issues is the plucking rod actuator assembly, which is notorious for its failure. Unfortunately, moisture also finds its way into the transmission’s casing and destroys the components that keep your vehicle functioning smoothly. Other common problems associated with the 6L90E transmission include:

  • Torque converter engagement or disengagement problems.
  • Hard shifts to third or fifth.
  • Transmission fluid over temperature.
  • Flare or slip on the 2-3 shift.
  • Slip in third or fifth gear.
  • No reverse or slip-in reverse.

The most obvious sign that the 6L90E automatic transmission has issues is when the reverse gear is slipping or no longer engaging. If you’re experiencing any of these problems highlighted above with your 6L90E transmission, take your vehicle to a certified technician. The technician or mechanic will check out the transmission and make some recommendations, such as checking or leveling up the transmission oil, replacing the torque converter if it’s worn out, changing the gearbox oil, etc.

Which Vehicles Have a 6L90E Transmission?

As mentioned earlier, General Motors uses the 6L90E automatic transmission on various trucks, cargo vans, and passenger vehicles. The weight capacity and superb torque handling of the 6L90E transmission make it perform exceptionally well in construction, commercial, and industrial settings. The Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana, Chevrolet Silverado HD, and GMC Sierra HD pickups started using this model in 2007 and keep doing so even today. Unfortunately, this makes some of the common issues associated with the 6L90E automatic transmission much worse due to the high usage and payloads they usually handle daily.

The Bottom Line

The GM 6L90E is a high-performance gear mechanism for handling as much as 700 horsepower. It is a 6-speed automatic transmission that powers everything from a wide range of vehicles, including family sedans, audacious muscle vehicles, SUVs, and pickup trucks, alongside its predecessor, the 6L80E model. The 6L90E is not perfect in every sense, but it is capable enough to still be in use today in many modern-day vehicles.

E4OD Transmission Upgrades for Heavy-Duty Towing and Off-Roading

E4OD Transmission Upgrades for Heavy-Duty Towing and Off-Roading - Gearstar

The E4OD transmission developed by Ford is a heavy-duty unit generally found in the Bronco, E-series vans, Expedition, and F-series trucks. This is a computer-controlled transmission designed for rear-wheel drive automobiles. Ford launched the E4OD in vehicles manufactured from 1989 to 1997, the well-known model years.

Identifying the E4OD Transmission

The popular F-series trucks and E-series vans with the E4OD transmission manufactured from 1989 to 1993 come with a shifter pattern of P-R-N-OD-2-1 and an overdrive cancel switch. But in 1994, Ford launched the 4R70W transmission that also employs a similar shifter pattern. Unfortunately, this similarity in the shifter pattern made examining the shifter to determine the vehicle’s particular transmission highly ineffective.

Ford engines in all 4.2-liter, 4.6-liter, and a handful of 5-liter make use of the newer 4R70W. But diesel-powered vehicles, as well as those equipped with 4.9-liter, 5.4-liter, 5.8-liter, 6.8-liter, and 7.5-liter engines, come with the E4OD. Another way of determining or identifying a truck’s transmission is by measuring the fluid pan. The ideal measurement of the E4OD is 20 inches in overall length, while on the contrary, the 4R70W is 15 inches in length.

Gear Ratios

These are the gear ratios for the E4OD transmission are as follows:

  • 1st — 2.71:1
  • 2nd — 1.54:1
  • 3rd — 1.00:1
  • 4th — 0.71:1

Computer-Controlled E4OD Transmission

The E4OD transmission was Ford’s top-selling electronically-controlled automatic in light trucks. Receives commands from the EEC-IV engine control computer on board. This computer rapidly processes all engine, transmission, and vehicle inputs to determine the best and unique shift points for consistent shift feel and performance. Ford claims several factors determine the shift points of the transmission. These factors include:

  • Engine speed and altitude.
  • The transmission temperature.

Ford was able to salvage 25 percent much better fuel economy in the 1991 F-150 2WD pickup with the E4OD than the 1990 F-150 with the older C-6 transmission.

Recommended Upgrades

Ford’s 7.3-liter power stroke engine was known for its incredible power potential and durability. Nevertheless, the E4OD came on the scene fully equipped on Ford power stroke-equipped available vehicles of the mid-90s. The E4OD worked remarkably well in light-duty applications. However, its design was not tough enough to handle the exceptional needs of most Powerstroke-equipped trucks. Some aftermarket companies offer upgrade components to complete heavy-duty replacement transmission to improve the factory-made transmission significantly.

Aftermarket Modifications 

You can replace several components of the E4OD transmission with upgraded aftermarket parts. These include:

  • Torque converter
  • Transmission control module
  • Pressure regulator
  • Front pump
  • Rear case bushings
  • Sun gear
  • Clutch piston
  • Reverse boost valve
  • Sprags
  • Center support

Adding auxiliary oil coolers can enhance the E4OD to have more excellent reliability.

Essential E4OD Transmission Upgrades and Maintenance

You can enhance the life of your still-functional E4OD by installing a transmission cooler alongside fresh fluid and a filter change. Heat is the arch-enemy of a vehicle transmission, which can easily be compounded by the strain associated with plowing or towing. However, you can perform these simple upgrades without uninstalling the transmission. If you use your vehicle frequently for towing, check out the severe duty maintenance schedule highlighted in your owner’s manual to extend the life of your transmission.

You may also add an external filter so that the latter can work in tandem with the transmission’s internal filter. Upgrading your transmission may require the uninstallation of the gear system. But a pre-1988 E4OD will benefit the most from upgrading by installing the 7-tooth rear lube style rear output shaft. Of course, the truck would have to run a numerically-high rear axle ratio for this upgrade to work efficiently. Installing the output shaft prevents planetary gear failures that come about as a result of poor lubrication. In addition, if input shaft replacements using an aftermarket unit are performed, it will significantly boost shift quality and strength.

E4OD Transmission Reprogramming

The E4OD is an electronically-controlled gear system requiring reprogramming to minimize gear hunting and boost operation. You can bring down gear hunting by adjusting the torque converter lock-up point and line pressure. Aftermarket companies all over the country offer several user-adjustable standalone programming modules designed exclusively for the E4OD transmission. Aftermarket E4ODs also come with unique design elements, such as well-designed transmissions that don’t usually have the general weaknesses plaguing those which are factory-designed. Ensure you only work with a highly reputable aftermarket company when the time comes to rebuild your transmission.

  • Heavy-duty valves.
  • High-quality gears.
  • Superior ball-bearing construction.
  • Magnificent clutch packs.

The price of most aftermarket E4OD units is very close to the amount a rebuild would require. Therefore, do your research to find out how much it will cost you for heavy-duty replacing units before committing to a costly rebuild. You can also enhance cooling capacity by opting for aluminum transmission pans.

E4OD Transmission Overhaul

The primary goal of building an E4OD transmission is to accomplish these:

  • Maximum durability.
  • A minimum build-up of internal heat.
  • Enhance the crispness of overall delivery off and on the road.

E4OD Transmission Rebuild Tips

Keep these tips in mind for your E4OD rebuild:

  • Low reverse clutch. Make use of performance frictions as well as steels to obtain tighter tolerances. Ensure the clearance is between 0,020 to 0.040 inches when installing the low reverse frictions. This is to shorten the delay when going into reverse.
  • Rear planetary. If the three-pinion OE aluminum shows zero signs of wear, keep it. This particular planetary rarely causes any issues. However, you may replace this planetary – if in doubt – with a six-pinion steel version used extensively in the power strokes.
  • Bushings and bearings. Replace all brass bushings showing wear and tear. You should also replace all the bearings.
  • Overdrive planetary. Convert/change the overdrive planetary into steel as the aluminum versions are known to split the neck.

The Bottom Line

Only a professional should handle upgrading your E4OD transmission for heavy-duty towing on and off the road. This is vitally crucial if this is your first rebuild.

4L80 Torque Converter Basics for Reinforcing Speed and Drivability

4l80 Torque Converter Basics for Reinforcing Speed and Drivability - Gearstar

There was a time when drivability, low emissions, and high horsepower were topics of discussion and disputes. Nowadays, auto-shift cars feature speed, fuel economy, and power as vital features every car owner watches out for. These enhancements have also made it easier for car owners to abandon their gearshift. Nevertheless, selecting the correct torque for your automatic vehicle enables you to enjoy the full benefits of today’s technology. This is vital since the 4L80 torque converter links the engine to the transmission while tuning the connection to generate the most power while minimizing heat. Therefore, choosing the wrong torque converter can quickly thwart your dream of a dependable gear-banging since the reliability and power of drivability rely heavily on it. However, if you have plans to enhance your vehicle’s speed while getting excellent fuel mileage regardless of the shift pattern you’ve settled for, you have no choice but to fall right back to torque converter basics.

What Is a 4L80 Torque Converter?

A torque converter transmits an engine’s torque to the transmission. The transmission enables you to move the vehicle along the road. In simple terms, the torque converter connects the power source to the load via the transfer of rotating power from a prime mover to the rotating driven load. They are usually found in automatic transmission cars and efficiently replace the clutch system standard in manual vehicles.

How Does a 4L80 Torque Converter Work?

Transferring power from any powertrain to the transmission is a relatively complicated process. This is because several components move in synch at the same time. Of course, you know that you are just pushing the gas pedal with your foot, flipping a paddle, or moving a gearstick. But a lot goes on right under the floorboards. Each movement beneath the floorboard is carefully engineered and developed to allow for the seamless meshing of multiple components that propel your vehicle into motion.

In Manual Vehicles

A manual vehicle comes with a clutch assembly that gives rise to the connection and disconnection between the transmission and the engine, which drives the wheels. A throttle stop sets the idle of the engines, which signifies the minimum engine speed at which the engine can sit comfortably before it stalls as a result of a shortage of air/fuel mixture entering the cylinders. Without a clutch, the engine would stall when you slow your vehicle down to a stop because the transmission load would drag it far below its workable revolution limit. The clutch brings about the disconnection needed to keep the engine running smoothly and the re-engagement alongside some throttle to get the vehicle functioning again.

In Automatic Vehicles

However, in an automatic vehicle, no proper clutch exists. So instead, the clutch is replaced by a torque converter. The torque converter does the same job as a clutch: it allows the car engine to stay up and to run while the wheels and transmission slow down until they stop. But the torque converter goes about this assignment ingeniously and differently. The torque converter is also referred to as a fluid coupling, which transfers rotational energy via fluid movement from one automated system to another. The fluid coupling can replace the clutch because it can allow the car engine to rotate freely by significantly minimizing the torque delivery from the powertrain to the transmission. The torque converter never connects to the full, as you will feel via the ‘creep’ that occurs when you take off your foot from the brake of your automatic vehicle at a standstill.

A pump that transmits fluid all over the torque converter helps achieve torque control. But this depends significantly on the crankshaft’s rotation. A turbine rotates within the torque converter as the pumped fluid gets in contact with the turbine’s vanes. This gauges the torque that will make it to the transmission via the input shaft. The torque converter’s casing is connected to the flywheel, which also spins at the exact rate of the crankshaft. Within this housing are a stator, the impeller or fluid centrifugal pump, and the turbine. The stator is a barrier to flinging the fluid back to the turbine instead of behind the pump. This action significantly boosts the efficiency of the system. In addition, the impeller flings the transmission fluid into the turbine fins, which, in turn, spin rapidly and transmit torque through to the transmission.

4L80 Torque Converter Basics

Here are a few ways you can speed up your vehicle using torque converter basics:

Maintain Your Car With Premium Fluids and Filters

Using high-quality filters and fluids helps combat excessive heat. However, you must watch out for how much heat your vehicle produces, which could affect how long it services your needs.

Ensure Your Transmission Cooling System Is Adequate

A cooling system helps regulate your engine’s temperature to avoid or prevent overheating. Irrespective of the quality of torque converter you opt for, you need to give more priority to combatting heat. You must consider pairing a cooling system with a high-quality filter and fluid.

Provide the Technician With Thorough Detail About Your Car

Torque converters are not one-size-fits-all. Instead, several manufacturing companies specialize in designing torque converters to fit a particular vehicle’s use and the driver’s specific needs. These companies showcase tech lines that potential clients can use to reach out to them to offer as much information as required about the customized torque converter to be constructed. Information can never be enough at this juncture. But ensure you include essential information such as camshaft specs, engine size, rear-end gear, and tire size.

Make Use of a Lock-Up Converter

A lock-up converter becomes useful for increased fuel mileage, reliability, and driveability. In addition, it can significantly minimize the heating issues of transmissions due to too much slippage from a higher-stall converter. Lock-up converters usually come in an overdrive-style transmission. However, this converter also showcases a clutch that creates a near-direct drive effect when engaged. This helps reduce slippage to the barest minimum, regardless of the stall speed, which successfully helps combat the heat that may potentially destroy the transmission.

Choose Your Camshaft Wisely

Converters and camshafts have a close relationship and could play significant roles in choosing the ideal converter for your vehicle. Camshafts determine the powerband of engine combinations to a very great extent. For instance, a 2,000 – 2,400-stall converter is an excellent choice when considering a cam duration of 248 degrees. On the other hand, a 2,400 or even 3,000-stall converter is much better for a cam duration of about 268 degrees, etc. These values portray that you will need a torque converter with just the right amount of stall for optimum performance while preventing heat generation. An additional advantage is that your engine can sit ideal in gear, especially if you use a stock camshaft. This is why it is crucial to determine the ideal stall speed.

The Bottom Line

The basics of a 4L80 torque converter are highlighted above to ensure you have a unit ideal for your vehicle. In addition, you can determine if the camshaft in your car is the most appropriate one or if a replacement will be needed. Everything boils down to the crucial factors to consider when settling for a torque converter that will always make you enjoy each minute you spend driving on the road.

An Overdrive Transmission Is Awesome, Just Misunderstood

An Overdrive Transmission Is Awesome, Just Misunderstood - Gearstar

When the automatic transmission first appeared on the market in the 1920s, anyone could count the number of gears on just one hand. But today, transmissions are practically all over the place. Honda is currently developing triple-clutch transmissions with 11 gears. According to industry experts, there was a time when transmissions only existed because automotive engines were below par. For instance, V-8 engines can rev up to 6,000 revolutions per minute.

Without a transmission, you will require a car engine that could spin at least three times that high to arrive at top highway speeds. As you may already know, the primary function of a transmission is to take an engine’s RPM and produce the wheel RPM that a particular situation requires. At low gear, the vehicle can pull away from a dead stop, while mid-range gears give rise to acceleration to freeway speeds. High gears ensure the momentum is maintained. This article discusses the misunderstood overdrive transmission and why it was created.

What’s an Overdrive Transmission?

Overdrive refers to a transmission gearing that significantly lowers an engine’s RPM at specific times to bring forth several beneficial effects. In other words, an overdrive turns the driveshaft faster than the engine’s crankshaft as soon as the overdrive is engaged. To get underway, the crankshaft has to turn faster than the driveshaft, which is underdriven. This action gives the engine a significant mechanical advantage over the driveshaft. However, as soon as the vehicle reaches cruising speed, the overdrive ensures the engine turns at a lower RPM than the driveshaft.

This yields better fuel mileage while reducing engine wear. Manual and automatic transmissions may have overdrive, though today’s manuals stipulate that drivers must depress the clutch and then shift into overdrive physically. But from the beginning, this was not always the case. Overdrive‘ is a word that relates to the gear ratio that constitutes ‘extra’ on top of the gearing that generates the peak amount of power. This means the gearing is ‘overdriven.’ Overdrive is practically in every transmission today.

What’s the Primary Function of Overdrive?

The primary function of overdrive has to do with fuel efficiency. A vehicle’s efficiency improves significantly if it moves faster while relaxing its engine. Moreover, since the engine’s workload is considerably reduced, the vehicle’s ride comfort improves and consequently becomes less noisy. The lesser the stress on your car engine, the less stress you will experience. This also boosts your vehicle’s reliability and longevity.

How an Overdrive System Works

When a vehicle is in overdrive, the gearing ensures that the input shaft rotates slower than the output shaft as the car overdrives beyond its peak power point. In a manual transmission, the car is put into top gear – i.e., overdrive – using the stick shifter and the clutch. But in an automatic vehicle, the automobile shifts itself ‘automatically’ into overdrive. 

The Overdrive Transmissions You Need to Know

There is no better time than this period to meet some of the various overdrive transmissions, arranged in no specific order.

General Motors TH200-4R

The TH200-4R transmission first came on the market in mid-sized sedans from General Motors manufactured in 1981. It had a dual-bolt-pattern bell housing, allowing it to fit excellently behind a Monte Carlo SS small-block V-8 and a Grand National’s Buick V-6. The TH200-4R can also be built to efficiently handle big-block power such as Olds, Cadillac, big Buick, big-block Chevy, etc. It was manufactured from 1981 to 1988 and came with an OE rating of 300 horsepower. The dual bolt pattern of the TH200-4R allows it to fit correctly behind most rear-drive GM V-6s or V-8s. No computer is required to operate this transmission, and its overall length is practically the same as that of the TH350. However, you may have to replace most of its internals to handle massive power conveniently.

General Motors 4L80-E

The 4L80-E is a heavy-duty transmission built on TH400 internals and was the standard equipment on 1-ton and ¾ pickups. It was manufactured from 1993 to 2005 and came with an OE rating of 450 horsepower. The 4L80-E can handle massive amounts of power, and its proven strong internals made it popular with the aftermarket. However, some of its weaknesses include its need for computer control. In addition, the transmission’s input shaft can also break easily.

Ford AOD

The Ford AOD transmission, manufactured from 1980 to 1993, was the first production 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission by a renowned domestic manufacturer. This remarkable transmission was constructed more or less around the FMX three-speed. The OE rating of this lightweight and simple transmission is 250 to 300 horsepower. The AOD’s compact design and strong aftermarket support made it incredibly popular. However, this transmission built a reputation for a soft, lazy shift, and its concentric input shaft torque converter lock-up design left a little to be desired.

General Motors TH700-R4/4L60-E

The TH700-R4/4L60-E transmission is the updated version of the 4L60-E and has the internals of a TH350. It was Chevrolet’s backbone 4-speed automatic over the last 20 years and came in light trucks, passenger cars, etc. The TH700-R4 was manufactured from 1982 to 2005 with an OE rating of approximately 350 horsepower. It can be rebuilt with 4L65-E specs and doesn’t require computer control. A significant weakness of the TH700-R4 is the big RPM drop between the first and second gears. Another notable weakness is the sun-reaction shell that tends to break at the input shaft splines.

Ford AOD-E/4R70-W

Ford updated the AOD transmission in the early 1990s by adding electronic shift control and enhancing its strength. The transmission was equipped with a brand-new, wide-ratio gearset and was eventually renamed ‘4R70W.’ The 4R70W transmission is designed to handle lots of abuse and was manufactured from 1992 to 2005. Its 2-inch-wide overdrive band guarantees better holding power, and its stronger input shaft is admirable. In addition, the transmission’s wide-ratio gearset matches shifts excellently to the engine powerband. Nevertheless, the 4R70W is not without a significant weakness: it requires a computer to operate.

Conclusion

The overdrive transmission is understandably one of the most misunderstood components of a vehicle. But it is one of the most vital vehicle parts that enhances the longevity and reliability of any vehicle.

Qualities of a Bulletproof 4R100 Transmission

Qualities of a Bulletproof 4R100 Transmission - Gearstar

The first electronically-controlled transmission from Ford was introduced in 1989 and named the E4OD (E = electronically controlled; 4 = Forward Gears; OD = OverDrive). The E4OD was established on core components of the C6 heavy-duty automatic transmission and was used extensively in several heavy-duty and light vehicles, including the F-150, F-350, F250, and the Bronco. The E4OD came with multiple bolt patterns, which made it incredibly popular for an upgrade or swap. These include big blocks (385 series, not FE), small blocks, modular bolts, and diesel patterns. The 4R100 transmission is rated at 1,000 ft./lbs, which means it is one of the strongest or toughest transmissions ever. Although this is a heavy-duty transmission, the addition of modifications by the owners became one of the weak aspects of the drivetrain.

An Overview of the 4R100 Transmission

The E4OD was updated to the contemporary 4R100 transmission, which is the last rendition of the C6. The 4R100 shares excellent similarities to the E4OD; however, several internal components were adjusted here and there to tackle every durability concern many truck drivers/owners raised. Some issues became visible when this transmission was placed behind the Powerstroke Diesel Engine.

Then, in 1999, 4R100 was enhanced with a PTO (power take-off), which enabled auxiliary equipment to attach readily to heavy-duty vehicles with the transmission. This was when the E4OD was renamed the ‘4R100’ automatic transmission. The 4R100 is a four-speed, heavy-duty automatic transmission that rear-wheel drive trucks with 7.3-liter diesel engine use. It phased out only when the 2003 model – i.e., the 5R110W – dropped. Trucks that carry heavy loads can depend reliably on the 4R100 transmission. The 4R100 and E4OD transmissions share identical gear ratios:

  • 1st gear = 2.71 (excellent for trucks that tow heavy loads)
  • 2nd gear = 1.54
  • 3rd gear = 1:1 ratio
  • 4th = 0.71.

The 4R100 is also a computer-controlled transmission that allows users to use hand-held controllers to modify the characteristics or attributes of the automatic transmission. The 4R100 transmission weighs precisely 270lbs. (dry with converter), and every internal component is enclosed in an aluminum case. It has a fluid capacity of 18 quarts Mercon V (complete with torque converter).

Using a hand-held tuner, the owner/user readily adjusts the line pressure, the firmness of the shifts, and the RPM at which the transmission shifts. Of course, truck owners want all shifts to be as seamless as possible. You can even throw beefier tires on your heavy-duty vehicles and readily adjust your transmission settings to account for the larger diameters of these tires.

The 4R100 – and E4OD – were massive automatic transmissions measuring 27.25 inches long. This is why both automatic transmissions do not apply to non-Ford vans and trucks. In addition, shoehorning the 4R100 into another vehicle will require extensive and expensive modifications. This is why Ford matched the transmission to the following engines:

  • ’99 to ’03 Ford Expedition SUV comes with the 5.4-liter V-8
  • ’99 to ’04 Ford E-Series vans
  • ’99 to ’03 Ford Excursion
  • ’99 to ’03 Ford F-250, larger Super Duty trucks, etc.

Although the 4R100 and E4OD automatic transmissions have identical exteriors, not every component is interchangeable between these unique units. This is why extra care must be exercised or taken to ensure comprehensive compatibility. Moreover, unlike its predecessor, the 4R100 is equipped with a dedicated output shaft speed sensor planted at the rear end of the transmission. In addition, a pulse-width modulated (PWM) torque converter clutch solenoid was also included in the entire 4R100s in every diesel application and eventually in all 4R100 automatic transmissions.

4R100 Automatic Transmission Upgrades

Although the hand-held tuner offers users several basic adjustments your heavy-duty vehicle needs, some truck owners are not opposed to having additional options. The following accessories are some of the few that can help strengthen your 4R100 transmission:

Shift Improver Kits

Shift improver kits are primarily designed to provide users with up to 3 unique options for adjusting their transmission. You can readily adjust or adapt the tranny for towing capabilities, off-road adventures, and heavy-duty conditions.

Lockup Valve Kits

You should opt for lockup valve kits if you want to prolong the life of the torque converter.

Clutch Disks or Kevlar Bands

Consider clutch disks or Kevlar bands if your primary goal is for your transmission to perform optimally under heavy-duty conditions.

Inline Oil Filter

Consider adding an inline oil filter as it ensures the entry of zero debris into the transmission lines or cooler in case you experience sudden and total tranny failure.

Addition of Extra Capacity

You can help keep the transmission cool or at the optimal temperature by adding extra capacity to it with a steel or aluminum deep transmission pan.

Minimize Transmission Temperature

Use an aftermarket transmission cooler with a built-in electric fan to minimize the transmission’s temperature or keep it as low as possible.

Customize Your Ride

You can customize your ride with hardened pump drive tubes, heavy-duty stall converters, and anti-balloon plates.

Transmission Temperature Gauge

This accessory helps you track the overall temperature of the tranny itself. For example, it alerts you when the temperature is climbing near the maximum 200-degree Celsius mark.

Common Issues Plaguing 4R100 Transmissions

Some of the most common problems 4R100 transmissions experience include delayed gear engagement, a hard shift, especially in lower gears, and stalling the vehicle when shifted into the reverse gear. The reverse input drum often wears out untimely, causing your vehicle to stall in reverse since the transmission cannot correctly engage the gear. Therefore, each time you experience these or any other problems with your 4R100 transmission, ensure a qualified mechanic looks it over for quick and inexpensive repairs.

The Bottom Line

The Ford 4R100 is one of the most reliable, heavy-duty 4-speed automatic transmissions on the market and is used extensively in rear-wheel drive trucks with 7.3-liter diesel engines. It was introduced in 1999 as a successor to the famed E4OD transmission. It could conveniently handle higher torque ratings, solved several electronic issues that plagued its predecessor, the E4OD, and was more durable. Indeed, the 4R100 automatic transmission was ‘bulletproof.’ However, this automatic transmission experiences some issues from time to time. These problems were partly why it phased out and was replaced soon after by the 5R110W.

Signs of a Faulty Torque Converter

Signs of a Faulty Torque Converter - Gearstar Performance Transmissions

The torque converter is a susceptible, complex, but essential component of traditional automatic vehicles. In technical terms, a torque converter is a form of fluid coupling generally known as ‘hydraulic coupling.’ It is a perfect alternative to the mechanical clutch you find in manual transmission. In ideal working conditions, torque converters multiply torque at lower revolutions per minute. This enables you to generate more power than possible via simple fluid coupling. When a torque converter goes bad, it can severely damage the transmission. A faulty torque converter can also result in overheating, friction, and degradation of the transmission fluid.

How Does a Torque Converter Work?

Torque converters operate in three distinct phases, as outlined below.

Stalling

Whenever you brake at a red light or come to a halt when you come across a ‘stop’ sign, your car engine still runs or idles. The torque converter applies power to the independently-rotating impeller without coupling with the turbine.

Acceleration

As soon as the red light turns green and you press down on the gas pedal, the impeller responds immediately by rotating at very high speeds. Since the turbine often rotates slowly, torque multiplication is generated instantly.

Coupling

The turbine rotates at approximately 90 percent of the impeller speed when your automobile starts moving at a fast clip. This results in torque multiplication. The lock-up clutch efficiently locks the turbine to the impeller at this point. This provides greater efficiency while preventing slippages.

The Torque Converter and Components Around It

The torque converter is often positioned between the transmission and the car engine’s flex plate. It comprises the following different components below.

Housing

The impeller is mounted on the torque converter housing. The latter is connected to the engine.

Impeller

The impeller is a vital component that comes with curved blades and is usually filled with fluid. When the impeller’s blades spin, the impeller sends forth fluid via centrifugal force. The faster the blades rotate, the more fluid is forced backward, resulting in energy transmission to the turbine.

Stator

The stator is a component conveniently interposed between the turbine and impeller. It receives fluid and turns the flow of fluid at nearly 90-degree angles. This results in torque multiplication.

Turbine

The turbine is positioned opposite the impeller. It comes with curved blades designed similarly. The turbine receives fluid from the impeller and rotates as this fluid flows against the blades. The turbine trades the fluid back and forth, which transmits rotating mechanical power via fluid coupling.

Turbine Output Shaft

The turbine output shaft connects the transmission and turbine and the vehicle’s wheels. These are the components that surround the torque converter. If any of these components suddenly fail, your torque converter will go bad, too.

6 Telltale Signs of a Faulty Torque Converter

The following are the top common signs of a faulty torque converter you should know.

1. Loss of Acceleration

If you notice that your vehicle shudders when you step on the gas pedal or feel somewhat sluggish or find it difficult to accelerate, your transmission may have a problem. In many cases, the key culprit behind such developments is the torque converter.

2. Leaking Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid is essentially the ‘blood’ of the transmission. It is crucial to the overall health and extensive performance of the torque converter and the entire transmission system. If torque converter seals get damaged or worn out over time, it may lead to transmission fluid leaks. This is why you shouldn’t take any chances whenever you notice that your transmission fluid is leaking. Leaking transmission fluid indicates something is wrong and must be addressed immediately. This helps avoid significant internal damage and costly repairs if ignored for a long time.

3. Slipping Between Gears

Automatic vehicles are primarily designed to shift seamlessly between gears. Most drivers feel this smooth movement, especially when they decelerate or accelerate quickly. However, if you feel your vehicle slipping between gears or find it challenging to stay in a specific gear, you may have a torque converter problem. You should arrive at this conclusion when the shifting also feels strange or rough.

4. Contamination of Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluids can get contaminated. Therefore, it is a big sign of trouble if you suddenly notice that your transmission fluid looks milky, burnt, dark, or filled with debris such as metal fragments or shavings. You need to service your transmission right away. This could be everything you need to get fresh transmission fluid flowing through the system again. Bad transmission fluid could also imply issues with the torque converter or other internal transmission problems. Getting an expert transmission specialist to perform proper inspections is essential.

5. Overheating Transmission

Your vehicle transmission comes with an ultra-sensitive temperature gauge. This gauge warns you as soon as your transmission starts overheating. It is not ideal for your transmission to overheat. If it does, it causes serious concern. Therefore, get your vehicle to the best transmission specialist in your area. A failing torque converter – or internal damage – may be the culprit behind an overheating transmission. Let the issue be addressed as soon as possible to avoid extensive and costly repairs.

6. Refusal of the Vehicle to Shift

The most prominent sign of a faulty torque converter is when your vehicle refuses to shift into a particular gear. If you cannot get your car to shift into forwarding drive or reverse or refuse to engage, something is wrong with the torque converter. It must be inspected immediately by a specialist for prompt repairs.

The Bottom Line

 These are some of the top common signs of a faulty torque converter. Therefore, if you notice any of the symptoms discussed above, find your way to the nearest local mechanic as soon as possible for multi-check inspection and road tests. Make sure you work only with certified torque converter technicians as they know how to perform minor repairs and simple component replacements. They can also complete overhauls if required and use only brand-new tools, diagnostic technology, and equipment.

6 Tips to Boost Auto Transmission Performance

6 Tips to Boost Auto Transmission Performanc - Gearstare

A vehicle auto transmission is a complex mechanical system that can be expensive to replace when damaged. This cost is why utmost care is essential to ensure it remains clean and operates efficiently for a longer life span. The primary goal of transmissions is to move vehicles from one point to the other with some assistance from the engine.

The 3 Types of Vehicle Transmissions

Three types of vehicle transmissions exist:

  1. Manual transmission
  2. Automatic transmission
  3. Continuously variable transmission

The automatic transmission and manual transmission often require service intervals. But the continuously variable transmissions have no need for service intervals as they come as sealed units.

How to Improve Your Auto Transmission

There are up to 6 ways to significantly improve the reliability and performance of your vehicle’s automatic transmission. Here they are, arranged in no specific order:

1. Regular Auto Transmission Maintenance

Servicing your auto transmission regularly helps guarantee its longevity. You can take your vehicle to the local mechanic, though it is something you can do on your own if you’re a DIY enthusiast. However, you will need the following tools/materials:

  • Protective clothing
  • Disposable gloves
  • A flashlight
  • Torque wrench
  • Jack stands
  • A pair of safety glasses
  • A drip pan
  • Creeper
  • SAE and metric socket set
  • Wheel chocks
  • A small funnel
  • SAE and metric wrench set
  • Floor jack
  • A new filter

Ensure your vehicle is parked on a flat surface. Confirm the transmission is in “park” since your car is automatic. Secure the rear tires with the wheel chocks. Then engage your vehicle’s parking brake. This action locks the rear tires and prevents them from budging. Position the floor jack under your vehicle at its specified jacking points. Operate the floor jack until it lifts the car off the ground, with its front wheels balanced in the air. Fix the jack stands at the appropriate jacking point locations and lower your vehicle until it rests on the jack stands. Most modern cars come with jack stands on the pinch weld, right under the doors, and along the vehicle’s bottom.

Get the creeper under your vehicle to locate the transmission oil pan. Position the drain pan beneath the transmission oil pan. Drain the fluid out by removing the oil pan plug if your vehicle comes with one. If it doesn’t, remove each bolt of the transmission oil pan but leave one bolt each in the rear and front of the pan. Then remove the bolt at the end slowly so the fluid drains out.  Detach the transmission oil pan. Remove the bolt at the front to allow the remaining fluid to drain out. Remove the oil filter and replace it with a new transmission oil filter. Install the new grommet, which helps prevent leakages at the pump’s inlet.

Scrape off the old gasket from the transmission oil pan and case. Fix the new gasket onto the transmission oil pan and install it onto the transmission using two bolts. Start your vehicle engine with your foot on the brake. Tighten the bolts and fill up the transmission via the open port using the funnel. Put the transmission in gear for some seconds and then into neutral for another couple of seconds. Put the transmission in neutral before putting it in “park.” This action helps prevent damages that may occur if the tires spin through the brakes.

2. Lowering Gears When Driving With Heavy Loads

Using the right setting for your auto transmission is also one of the most efficient ways of improving your vehicle’s performance. If you’re driving through heavy traffic or bearing heavy loads, use your vehicle’s drive selection for the transmission. Do not overdrive, as this puts much undue pressure on your gears. Overdriving could lead to slippage and irreparable damage. Therefore, always lower the gears whenever your vehicle bears heavy loads.

3. Changing Driving Habits

When you change your driving habits, it enhances the auto transmission’s performance and reliability. Start by operating your vehicle and getting someone to monitor all the dash gauges. Take note when the transmission shifts and the particular RPM at the change occurred. Most cars come with a tachometer gauge to measure RPMs, but you can also take note of the speed at which the transmission shifted if your vehicle doesn’t come with an RPM gauge. Analyze the data you recorded to note the speed or RPM at which the shift occurred. Then perform another test drive that you change as soon as you shift the transmission.

4. Ensuring Proper Tire Alignment

Your vehicle’s tire alignment makes a considerable difference in the operation of your transmission, especially during driving conditions. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you may need the following tools:

  • A flashlight
  • Protective clothing
  • A pair of disposable clothing
  • Jack stands
  • Floor jack
  • Wheel chocks
  • Tape measure
  • A pair of safety glasses, etc.

However, leave proper tire alignment and other essential tasks to professionals who know what they’re doing.

5. Proper Engine Maintenance

Transmissions get neglected when it comes to the overall performance of a vehicle. As soon as your car engine overheats, it causes the coolant within the radiator to boil. The boiling causes the transmission fluid to vanish within the radiator heat exchanger. Fixing a transmission may be easy for most mechanics. But it is not uncommon for these mechanics to forget one simple fact: the excess heat burns out all the additives in the transmission oil. When this occurs, or when the transmission oil evaporates, the transmission is exposed as there’s no fluid to clean and protect it. If your car engine overheats or misfires, fix this problem with your vehicle engine before you service the transmission.

6. Having and Using the Correct Tire Size

Using the correct tire size is essential to prolong your transmission’s performance and life span. Tires contribute to the wear and tear within a transmission system. Wear and tear occur due to overspeeding or overloading. Take your car to your mechanic and get them to work on the wheels.

Key Auto Transmission Takeaways

Boosting your auto transmission performance is not rocket science, especially for DIY enthusiasts. However, if you aren’t, ensure certified professionals perform these procedures to prevent unexpected but costly repairs.